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Earliest known date attached to four Gospels
Shlama all--

I should point out that it is quite possible John didn't finish his Gospel until several years AFTER 78, although a line like 5:1 might suggest he began the draft decades earlier. But remember, if tradition is true, John is writing almost 20 years after this mss would have been produced. Therefore, "and the rest" probably refers to the writings of Peter and Paul who, like Matthew and Mark, died in the 60's of the common era.

Even if John wrote his Gospel pre 78, there is another possibility. We must remember it took a long time for all 4 Gospels to get gathered together in one place. In the early decades of the faith, each community would have ONE Gospel, if they had any at all. So Ephesus would have had John's Gospel probably, but Scripture suggests that Philemon, Mark and Romans would have been in Rome. 1 Peter was written from Babylon and Peter probably was the final redactor for Mark. Matthew's Gospel would have been in Israel, or perhaps later in Ethiopia where tradition says he died. Of course Pantaenus says Matthew's Hebrew Gospel reached India as early as 52 so compared to that 78 looks more plausible.

As for Matthew writing as early as 41, this is also possible, and more to the point copies of that Gospel would most likely have been in hebrew script (Aramaic language) and a copy of this version would have had YHWH rather MarYah in it, which may be the source of the commentary in Mas Shabbath 116a.

For the record, I believe it is possible that one of these ancient source could see the light of day again.
Shlama w'burkate
Andrew Gabriel Roth

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Re: Earliest known date attached to four Gospels - by Andrew Gabriel Roth - 03-23-2009, 04:25 AM

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